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Banned Book Week

Banned Book Week, in the last week of September, is an annual event that celebrates the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.

What is the difference between a challenged book and a banned book?

When a person challenges a book, they are attempting to remove or restict access to that book. If they are successful, then the book is banned.

Banned Book Week

Every year, across the country, books are challenged in schools and libraries for their "inappropriate" content.

Banning books is a challenge to your First Amendment rights and takes away an individual's right to choose material that is appropriate for yourself or your family.

"Celebrate the Freedom to Read" by reading a book from the American Library Association’s (ALA) banned book list.

For more information visit the American Library Association’s (ALA) Banned and Challenged Books website.

Top 100 Challenged/Banned Books 2000-2009

Background Information from 2001 to 2010

Over the past ten years, American libraries were faced with 4,660 challenges.

  • 1,536 challenges due to “sexually explicit” material;
  • 1,231 challenges due to “offensive language”;
  • 977 challenges due to material deemed “unsuited to age group”;
  • 553 challenges due to “violence”
  • 370 challenges due to “homosexuality”; and

Further, 121 materials were challenged because they were “anti-family,” and an additional 304 were challenged because of their “religious viewpoints.”

1,720 of these challenges (approximately 37%) were in classrooms; 30% (or1,432) were in school libraries; 24% (or 1,119) took place in public libraries.  There were 32 challenges to college classes; and 106 to academic libraries.  There are isolated cases of challenges to materials made available in or by prisons, special libraries, community groups, and student groups.  The majority of challenges were initiated by parents (almost exactly 48%), while patrons and administrators followed behind (10% each).

Information taken from American Library Association's website